British Airways Introduces Automatic Check-In Service
British Airways (BA) is trialling a new service that allows customers to automatically check in to flights. Selected travellers flying out of French airports will be checked in 24 hours before their flight, and provided with assigned seats and electronic boarding passes. If the trial is a success, the service could be introduced across the BA network by the end of 2013.
The initiative is part of BA’s £5bn ($8bn) investment programme to improve passenger experience. Other new services being tested include a free porter service for departing First and Gold Executive Club customers at London’s Heathrow Airport, and an app that allows Executive Club smartphone users to check in and access mobile boarding passes at Leeds Bradford Airport in the north of England.
Travellers are looking for self-service and mobile-based offerings, according to air transport communications company SITA and US-based airline industry publication Air Transport World’s 2012 Passenger Self-Service Survey, which found that nearly 90% of passengers rated mobile flight status updates and self-boarding as their top self-service technologies.
Speaking at the 2011 ITB Berlin travel conference, Google’s head of global travel accounts Bernd Fauser declared the mobile phone as “the device of the century”. Read more about inventive travel apps and mobile services in Travel Websites & Apps. For information on the technology-driven services being offered by hospitality companies, see our report Guest Services Go Mobile.